Bold and Beautiful Dark Kitchens

We may be experiencing the hottest summer for decades which is bringing us all the bright sunshine but one of the biggest trends this year is the dark and sophisticated kitchen. Think emerald green hues, midnight blues and matte black mixed with shiny metallics such as gold and copper for a sharp, bold interior look.

Be brave and design your whole kitchen in a dark hue or dip into the trend with an island or dresser in a dark colour with a lighter door elsewhere to compliment and lift the space, particularly if you have a smaller space to work with.

Another way to incorporate this trend into your space without the full commitment of a new kitchen is adding darker accessories such as tea towels, wall art or paint your walls in a deep and rich shade such as Hicks' Blue by Little Greene Paint Company for a slight nod to the trend.  

Below we have picked a few of our favourite kitchens that encompass this trend and can all be designed around your space from our showroom in Attenborough Village. What would you design? 

 Second Nature  Urban Heritage Porter  in Matt Graphite 

Second Nature Urban Heritage Porter in Matt Graphite 

 Second Nature  Fitzroy  in Corpse Green

Second Nature Fitzroy in Corpse Green

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Chocolate & Orange Cake

This tasty and easy to make chocolate and orange cake has been perfected by Helen. Add in orange juice and golden syrup for an extra tasty and without any of the dryness of a traditional chocolate cake. It tastes amazing on a Sunday afternoon with a cup of tea and a good book!

Ingredients for the cake

-        10oz Plain Flour

-        2oz Coco Powder

-        7oz Soft Brown Sugar

-        2oz Golden Syrup

-        2 ½ tsp Baking Powder

-        4 Eggs

-        ½ tsp Vanilla Paste

-        Juice of One Orange

-        Zest of 2 oranges

Ingredients for the filling & topping

-        3oz Butter

-        6oz Icing Sugar

-        Zest of orange juice

-        ½ a jar of orange curd

-        Dark chocolate melted

Method:

Preheat your oven to 160° and line two 20cm sandwich tins

Cream the butter, sugar and golden syrup together until light and fluffy

Add in the eggs, 2 at a time adding 1 spoonful of flour at a time

Stir in the remaining flour, the coco powder and the baking powder

Squeeze in the juice of 1 orange, zest of 2 oranges and the vanilla paste

Stir together all the ingredients but be careful not to over beat

Divide the cake mixture into 2 tins

Pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until cooked all the way through

Whilst the cake is cooking combine the Icing sugar together along with some of the orange juice (add in as needed to get the correct consistency.) Plus a little vanilla paste.

Pop the buttercream into a piping bag (if you do not have a piping bag it is fine to just spoon onto the cake!)

Once the cakes are fully cooled squeeze the remaining orange juice over the sponges

Spoon on the orange curd over one of the cakes and then pipe on the buttercream until the cake is covered

Pop the second cake on top of the buttercreamed half of the cake

Melt a bar of dark chocolate over a low heat mixed with a little golden syrup and butter

Pour the chocolate all over the finished cake

ENJOY!

Traditional Pasta Sauce

Looking for the perfect, basic pasta sauce recipe? Then look no further, Helen’s tried and tested recipe has been cooked for many years and always goes down very well. Originally taught to her by her Italian mother-in-law, Helen has now got this Italian essential down to a fine art. This sauce is the perfect base for any tomato based recipes such as Bolognese, moussaka and chilli con carne – just add in anything you fancy!

Ingredients

-        1 carton of tomato passata

-        1 carrot diced

-        1 medium onion diced

-        Sprinkle of sugar

-        Rapeseed oil

-        We also add a little mince meat (optional)

-        Garlic clove (optional)

-        Cherry tomatoes (optional)

Method:

Heat some rapeseed oil in a large pan

Add the diced onion to the pan and lightly fry (be careful not to overcook)

Pop the diced carrot in as well as some salt & pepper

Add in the garlic if you are using

Once all the veg is starting to soften add in the mince meat if using

Add in the carton of passata to the pan

If you are using cherry tomatoes add these in

On a low heat allow the sauce to bubble away for 3hrs +

Add in a sprinkling of sugar

You will start to see a dark red oil appear at the top of the sauce this is the sauce becoming richer and tastier!

Once the sauce has been bubbling away for 3hrs add to your favourite pasta and enjoy!

Interior Design For Your Home - Part Three

In the final part of our Interior design for your home blog series we look at a personal favourite of ours – the Cotemporary Classic Kitchen. This style of Kitchen is becoming more and more sought after with it’s sleek overall look mixed with the beautiful detailing of a traditional styled kitchen, perfect for any family home.

Many types of interiors play well with this design but one which works particularly well is ‘Luxe modern’, combining strong metals such as brass with marble, herringbone flooring and bold wall colours like emerald green and dark blues.

We offer many kitchens to suit this style such as the ‘Ellerton’ by Alchemy or the ‘Slab’ by 1909. Mix one strong colour door with a lighter base colour for a bold interior look.

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Inframe Slab Kitchen by 1909

Simple, Stylish & Contemporary 

Delicious ButterMilk Scones

These moorish scones are a big hit with everyone! Made using buttermilk, which is available in most big supermarkets, rather than the traditional milk we find the rise much better on them whilst also regaining a fluffier, lighter texture. Adapt the recipe according to your occasion we love really cheesy scones or sweet cherry ones. YUMMY!

Ingredients :

3 cups of Plain Flour

1/3 cup of Butter melted

1 ¼ Butter Milk

¼ tsp Salt

2 tbsp baking powder

If making sweet scones add 1/3 cup of Sugar and or/dried fruit

Method :

Pre heat the oven on the top/bottom heat at 220° 

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and butter

Pour the butter milk into the dry mix

If making flavoured scones, at this point add in either grated cheese for savory scones or chopped cherries/raisins for a sweet scone (remember the sugar!) 

With a knife combine all the ingredients until fully mixed and they begin to come together

On a clean worksurface sprinkle with flour and pop the scone mixture onto a floured worksurface

As tempting as it may be do not mess with the mix too much, no kneading!

Once the dough has come together and is in a ball, pat down so it is around 3cm high

With a knife cut the dough into 8 sections (they will be triangle in shape)

On a pre-heated baking tray place the scones on it and pop in the oven for 12-15 mins – check they are golden brown and cooked all the way through

Enjoy with lashings of butter!

Interior Design For Your Home - Part Two

In the second part of our Interior design for your home blog series we select furniture and accessories for the more traditional style kitchen such as our beautiful and bespoke 1909 range.  

From sophisticated shaker style kitchens to a more intricate detailing such as scalloped edging and matching cornice these kitchens are for people who want their kitchen to be the focal point rather than hide in the background. Designed to be sturdy, practical and to become the most used and loved room in the house the traditional kitchen requires timeless furniture to suit. See our top picks below to complete your dream kitchen. 

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Traditional Kitchen Styling

A BEAUTIFUL 1909 KITCHEN WILL ALWAYS HAVE DISTINCT CLASSIC DETAILING 

Quiche & Pastry Making

In this weeks post we share the secrets to Helen's perfect pastry and her crowd pleasing quiche - perfect for a summers day picnic or party and can be adapted to suit whatever you have leftover in your fridge. Checkout the YouTube video to follow a step by step guide on how to make it. Enjoy! 

For the Pastry:

-        4oz (115g)  Butter

-        8oz (225g) Plain Flour

-        2tsp water (add as needed)

-        Salt & Pepper

For the quiche filling:

-        8 eggs

-        160g Pancetta cubes

-        2 Leeks - sliced

-        Mozzarella ball

-        Goats cheese round (different cheese can be used)

-        6-7 sundried tomatoes roughly chopped

-        Pepper to season

-        Butter for frying

Method:

Pop oven on ‘Top & bottom heat’ at 180°

Grease a 25cm fluted flan dish

In a bowl combine the flour & the butter together with fingertips until a breadcrumb like consistency is formed and then stir in salt

Add a little water to the mix so it becomes a firm dough.

Leave the dough mix to one side to rest

Over a medium heat add a good chunk of butter to a large saucepan and add the pancetta and leeks

Chop sundried tomatoes and add to the saucepan mix with a good amount of pepper

Lightly fry until all ingredients begin to brown then put to one side

Flour a worksurface and begin to roll out your pastry to desired size

Place rolled out pastry over the flan dish and using fingers push into flutes, prick the bottom with a fork

Leave any overhanging pastry until the quiche is completely cooked (As the pasty will shrink)

Put in the oven for around 5 minutes to blind bake

Whilst the pasty is in the oven, in a large bowl pour the contents of the pancetta mix along with the 8 eggs and combine together

Slice the mozzarella and goats cheese up

Take the pastry out the oven and turn the heat of the oven down to 160°

Pour the egg mixture and chunks of mozzarella into the pastry case

Arrange the goats cheese slices on top of the quiche

Bake in the oven for 40-45mins until the egg mix has cooked and the pastry has browned

Take the quiche out of the oven & enjoy!

Interior Design For Your Home - Part One

Every week we are asked the question “What sort of furniture/interior style do you think will work best with the design we have chosen?” from many of our customers looking to complete their room to suit them, their families and their newly designed space, so we have decided to run a mini blog series on various stunning interior styles we often recommend to our customers to compliment their dream kitchen/bathroom or bedrooms.

In the first of our Interior design for your home blog series we look at how to furnish your kitchen if you have chosen one of our most popular and sleek kitchen styles – The Modern, for example the Remo by Second Nature or handless/gloss ranges.

This style of kitchen is so versatile, perhaps why it is so popular, with sleek lines and an uncluttered approach your furniture should do the same whilst being simple enough to be brave with colour or textile choices. Scandinavian or 60’s styles mix so beautifully with this scheme – look for ‘hair-pin’ legs on dining tables & chairs, light timber such as beech furniture mixed with copper pendant lighting for over islands and breakfast bars for a beautifully calm, contemporary and timeless look.

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SCANDI VIBES

AN EXAMPLE OF ONE OF OUR CUSTOMERS' SCANDINAVIAN INSPIRED KITCHEN FEATURING THE REMO HANDLESS KITCHEN IN 'PORCELAIN' 

Lemon & Coconut Cake

With warmer climes and longer days it feels appropriate to make a slightly more tropical based cake – how about Helen’s Lemon and Coconut cake? A light delicate sponge sandwiched together with zesty buttercream and a crunchy coconut top. Enjoy with a cup of tea mid-morning or a Gin & Tonic in the afternoon!

Ingredients For The Cake

Plain Flour – 340g (12oz)

Salted Butter – 255g (9oz)

Soft Brown Sugar – 255g (9oz)

Eggs - 4

Desiccated Coconut – 55g (2oz)

Coconut Cream – 200ml

Baking Powder – 2.5tsp

Zest of three lemons + the juice

Pinch of salt

Vanilla Paste – ½ tsp

Ingredients For The Buttercream

Butter – 85g (3oz)

Icing Sugar – 6oz (170g)

Pinch of salt

Lemon zest + juice (add juice as necessary)

Coconut shavings toasted (for the top)

Icing sugar – 60z (170g) – this is to pour over the top

Method

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees & line two 20cm sandwich tins

Pour coconut cream into a bowl with the desiccated coconut & allow to soak

Cream both the butter & sugar together

Stir in the coconut cream & desiccated coconut mix

Add in eggs – 2 at a time with a spoonful of flour each time

Carefully stir in the lime zest, salt & vanilla paste, be careful not overmix

Split the mix between the two tins

Bake in the oven for 25-30 mins

For the Filling

Cream together the butter & icing sugar together until light and fluffy

Stir in the lemon zest and a little of the juice if the mix feels stiff

Pipe the buttercream on one of the cakes and place the second cake on-top & sandwich together

Toast the coconut flakes on a low grill setting until golden (keep watch as they burn easily!)

Make icing sugar mix with water and pour over the sandwiched cakes until it drips

Sprinkle over toasted coconut

A Tuscan Wedding

We have been fairly quiet here at IDEAS as we have been busy planning and enjoying a member of the IDEAS’ team wedding in the beautiful Tuscany.

A week long celebration of food, wine and good company made for some amazing memories and beautiful pictures!

We seem to have brought back the stunning sunshine and warm weather from Italy and Helen’s famous cakes will now be back in the Showroom for you all!

IDEAS x